Experts Discuss Future Of PEPFAR, Potential For Reauthorization

While “experts agree” the “chances of [PEPFAR] being reauthorized is slim,” they also “say that Congress does not need to reauthorize the program,” CQ Online News reports. Chris Collins, vice president and director of public policy at amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, “said reauthorization is not imperative as long as the State Department continues to implement PEPFAR, which celebrated its 10-year anniversary two months ago, and Congress maintains the sort of funding levels for the program that it has received over the last decade,” according to the news service. “Collins added that besides funding, Congress does have the responsibility to ‘keep asking how are we doing in pursuing the goal of an AIDS-free generation,'” as outlined in the PEPFAR Blueprint released in November 2012, CQ writes. Speaking at a June 21 teleconference before President Obama’s trip to Africa, Gayle Smith, senior director at the National Security Council, called PEPFAR — first implemented in 2003 and reauthorized for five years in 2008 — a “terrific foundation” that the U.S. government has built on “substantially by shifting it a lot more in the direction of capacity-building, of strengthening systems in partner countries, in building on things like maternal, child health so that we could help to radically reduce the rate of the spread of the infection from mother to child,” CQ notes. Robert Black, a professor and director of the Institute of International Programs at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said, “Reauthorization isn’t necessary, but additional funding is,” the news service states (Khatami/Cadei, 8/7).